Dental Tips |4 min read

Don’t Let Teeth Grinding Grind You Down: Star City Dental Offers Relief

Grinding Your Gears? Don’t Grind Your Teeth! Star City Can Help.

Tired of waking up with a sore jaw or dull headache? You might be grinding your teeth! Here at Star City Dental in Lincoln, Nebraska, Dr. Mimi Long and Dr. Brandon Toscano are dedicated to keeping your smile healthy and comfortable. We are here to dive deep into teeth grinding (bruxism), a common condition affecting people of all ages. We’ll explore the symptoms, causes, and, most importantly, how to stop it from disrupting your sleep and damaging your smile.

Teeth grinding or Bruxism can be categorized into two main types: awake bruxism and sleep bruxism.

Awake Bruxism

  • Awake bruxism refers to teeth grinding that occurs while a person is awake. It often happens unconsciously during periods of stress, anxiety, concentration, or deep focus. Individuals with awake bruxism may clench their teeth tightly together or grind them back and forth. This type of bruxism can lead to worn-down tooth surfaces, jaw pain, headaches, and increased muscle tension in the face and neck.

Sleep Bruxism

  • Sleep bruxism occurs during sleep and is often characterized by rhythmic grinding or clenching of the teeth. Unlike awake bruxism, individuals with sleep bruxism are usually unaware of their grinding habits unless a partner or family member notices the sound during sleep. Sleep bruxism can be more challenging to control because it happens involuntarily, often related to sleep disorders or subconscious muscle activity.

By understanding the different types of teeth grinding and their underlying causes, patients can take proactive steps to manage bruxism effectively and protect their dental health.

Understanding Teeth Grinding: Symptoms

Teeth grinding can manifest in various ways, often leading to noticeable symptoms such as:

  • Grinding or Clenching Sounds: You or your partner may hear grinding noises during sleep or times of stress.
  • Worn Tooth Enamel: Excessive grinding can wear down tooth enamel, leading to teeth sensitivity and an increased risk of tooth decay.
  • Jaw Pain, Tenderness, and Fatigue: Persistent clenching can cause jaw discomfort, stiffness, earaches, and headaches.
  • Chipped, Worn, or Fractured Teeth: Over time, bruxism can result in chipped, fractured, or loose teeth.
  • Facial pain and headaches: These headaches may feel like any other headache or tension headache, but they tend to occur and recur in one or more regions of the head and/or face. You may also feel facial tightness/pain or jaw tightness/pain/clicking.

Dr. Mimi Long explaining causes and treatments to teeth grinding

What Causes Teeth Grinding?

The exact cause of teeth grinding isn’t always apparent, but several factors can contribute to it:

  • Stress and Anxiety: These are major culprits for teeth grinding. Triggers involve emotional distress, anxiety, frustration, or intense focus or concentration, such as when working on a challenging task or project.
  • Sleep Disorders: Sleep apnea or restless sleep can trigger grinding during the night.
  • Misaligned Bite: Uneven teeth or an improper bite can put extra pressure on your jaw, leading to grinding.
  • Medications: Certain medications can have teeth grinding as a side effect.
  • Habits: Chewing on pens, fingernails, or other objects unconsciously can lead to grinding.

Keeping the Grind Away: How To Stop Grinding Your Teeth

Fortunately, there are several strategies to help you curb teeth grinding and protect your precious smile. Dr. Long and Dr. Toscano offer several solutions to help you stop teeth grinding:

  • Stress Management Techniques: Relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga can help reduce stress and teeth grinding.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake can improve sleep quality and reduce grinding.
  • Dental Treatment: Consult Dr. Long or Dr. Toscano for a thorough examination. They may recommend orthodontic treatments, dental adjustments, or a customized nightguard to prevent grinding during sleep.
  • Nightguards: These custom-made mouthpieces create a barrier between your teeth, preventing damage from grinding.
  • Botulinum Toxin Injections: In severe cases, healthcare providers might recommend Botox® for teeth grinding. These injections temporarily relax your jaw muscles and reduce pain. You’ll need repeat treatments to maintain your results — usually every three to four months.

Protecting Your Smile with Nightguards or Mouthguards

One of the most effective ways to safeguard your teeth from grinding is by using a nightguard or mouthguard. These custom-fit oral appliances, crafted by our skilled dental team at Star City Dental, offer the following benefits:

  • Prevention of Tooth Damage: Nightguards create a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth, minimizing the impact of grinding forces and preserving tooth structure.
  • Jaw Joint Support: By stabilizing your jaw position, nightguards reduce strain on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), easing discomfort and preventing TMJ disorders.
  • Improved Sleep Quality: With reduced grinding and clenching, you can enjoy more restful sleep, waking up refreshed and without jaw pain.
  • Long-Term Dental Health: Investing in a nightguard or mouthguard can prevent costly dental treatments in the future, such as crowns, bridges, or implants necessitated by severe tooth damage.

These custom-made mouthpieces create a barrier between your teeth, preventing damage from grinding.

Star City Dental – Your Partner in Ending Teeth Grinding

Prioritizing your dental health and addressing teeth grinding early on can significantly improve your smile and overall well-being. At Star City Dental in Lincoln, Nebraska, Dr. Mimi Long and Dr. Brandon Toscano are dedicated to providing personalized care and effective solutions to help you achieve optimal oral health.

Remember, a healthy smile starts with proactive measures and regular dental visits. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn how we can protect your smile for years to come!

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